Sami Kehela was born in Baghdad in 1934 and spent his early years in London, England and Berkeley, California before settling in Toronto. He is one of the best players ever to play the game of bridge and is a member of the ACBL Hall of Fame.
His 30-year partnership with Eric Murray is acknowledged as one of Canada’s best ever. They were paid the ultimate compliment by having a book titled “Canada’s Bridge Warriors” written about them by Roy Hughes, which won the International Bridge Press Association’s Book of the Year award in 2007.
Kehela won ten major North American titles including: the Spingold Master Knockout Teams (1964, 1965 and 1968); the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams (1966 and 1970); the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs in 1967; the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs in 1969; the Life Master Men’s Pairs in 1963; the Wernher Open Pairs in 1963; and the Open Pairs in 1964. He also won the Lou Herman Trophy for best performance at the 1967 Fall Nationals; the North American Team Trials in 1966 and 1973; the Canadian National Teams Championship in 1980 and 1981; and the Canadian Olympiad Team Trials in 1968.
In addition, Kehela has four 2nd place finishes in North American competition (the Spingold Master Knockout Teams in 1963; the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs in 1969; and the Reisinger in 1969 and 1972).
Kehela has had considerable success in international competition. He played on the North American Bermuda Bowl team in 1966, 1967 and 1974, and was coach of the team in 1962, 1963, and 1965, finishing second to the Italian Blue Team on all six occasions.
With the exception of 1984, Kehela played on every Canadian Olympiad team from 1960 to 1988, winning bronze medals in 1968 and 1972, and finishing 4th in 1964. He also represented Canada twice in the World Open Knockout Teams (Rosenblum Cup) winning a bronze medal in 1982 and finishing 5th in 1978.
As a journalist Kehela made significant contributions serving as editor of the Ontario Kibitzer, bridge columnist for Toronto Life, and contributing editor to the Official Encyclopaedia of Bridge.
Watch Kehela’s ACBL Hall of Fame video below.